Xavier Jefferson is a Research Analyst II & Jr. Portfolio Manager at LifeBridge Financial Group and baMa’s portfolio Manager. We have talked with him about his job journey, his role at baMa and baMa’s impact in the innovation ecosystem in Houston.
IN: Can you explain us how was your upbringing?
I grew up in Louisiana. The first half of my childhood was spent living with my mom, my stepdad, my siblings, my aunt, and my grandmother. When I was 10, I moved about 3 hours away to live with my dad’s parents. This is where I graduated high school, where I met my wife, and the place that I call home – Franklinton, LA.
IN: What made you go to University and get your degree?
Graduating from college was always something I wanted to accomplish; I was the first person in my immediate family to achieve that, and I was fortunate to attend with an athletic scholarship.
IN: How was the journey until then?
My intent was to study medicine, but I realized that’s not something I wanted to do for 4 years. Rather than continue down that path, I changed my major to business after the first week of classes. Being a student athlete was a unique experience. I was committed to football for 40+ hours each week, and held myself to a high standard academically.
IN: And after getting your degree, has it been challenging getting into the labour market?
Very challenging. I began my job search months before graduation, and those efforts were unsuccessful. I knew I wanted to move to Houston, TX, but no one explained what the job market was like post-grad. I was always told, “Get a degree and then you’ll get a job”, but it wasn’t that easy. After two months of attending job fairs, applying to jobs daily, and even cold-calling companies, my current employer offered me a three month, unpaid internship and I’ve been with them for 6 years now.
IN: How did you find out about baMa?
I read an article in the Houston Business Journal about the work Maria was doing with baMa. After sharing my interest in learning more about venture capital, a mutual friend introduced me to Maria.
IN: What did it make you want to be involved as a portfolio manager at baMa?
Right now I work with financial advisors to provide working professionals and retirees educated investment advice. I’ve grown into my role where I am paid to read, to think, and to use that information to make high quality decisions that directly impact our client’s lives – financially and personally. Despite this being a liberating career experience, I also want to work alongside passionate entrepreneurs who are building businesses that are impacting the world and the people in our communities.
IN: Can you explain your main roles at baMa?
I’m primarily responsible for improving the deal flow process by sourcing potential startups for our pitch events in a variety of ways: twitter, google alerts, pitch competitions, partnerships with accelerators, and old-fashioned cold outreach. This also entails managing our pitch applicants, facilitating and leading meetings with founders, and developing pre-selection diligence criteria.
IN: What have you learned over your time as a volunteer at baMa?
As angels, we’re not just check-writers. We’re signing up to work side-by-side with the leadership of a startup. Founders and CEOs are one pitch away from changing their lives. So the meetings have to be just as important to us as it is to them. And the only way to truly understand and appreciate what’s at stake is to listen and ask thoughtful, thought-provoking questions.
IN: How could you describe baMa’s role in #changingthecolorsofinvestment?
When I think about baMa I think about Maria. Her passion for activating angel capital to fund minority founded/serving startups is clear. She lives and breathes it. Not only has it been exciting to be a part of baMa and to learn alongside her, it’s also exciting to think about baMa’s role in changing the colors of investment in HTX. Houston has a promising future in VC and baMa will be a big part of that.
Catherine Carey, Communications Manager at baMa